Or also known as, Florence- is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is a very beautiful city, and as early as 6am, we got up with the sun shining through our tired faces in the morning, we got up into Roma Termini to ride in one of the fastest train in Europe, Eurostar (operated by TrenItalia) to the province of Florence.
Fast, comfortable and awesome. Those three words perfectly describe our journey as it only took us around 1 hour and 30 minutes to get into our destination. And yes, it is expensive- the train ticket cost us £32, but well worth it. (Lagi mahal dari tiket kapal terbang!)
As soon as we arrived to Florence, the first thing that we did was to buy a map. Without a map you'll be lost and will be without any sense of direction. Our first destination was our hostel ofcourse and as we stroll our way to Via Porta Rossa, we saw a lot of gypsies asking for money, people busking with their instruments, artists drawing their pantings, hawkers selling foods and handbags and ice creams.
The first landmark that we saw in Florence was the Cathedral. It was pretty big and famous for its breathtaking view of the top of the dome- in which you have to pay 15 euro's to pass and with our budget seemingly tight, we had to say no.
We had lunch in an Italian restaurant which sells pizza's and it was indeed a special experience. We had mushroom and cheese pizza, which was totally yummy and in the case of a vegetarian pizza which we ordered, taste totally tomato.
The city itself feels like a city in the medieval ages- there's only shopping lots present and no shopping malls, so it makes you feel like you're in the Sherlock Holmes movie, except that you're in 2012. There's a famous bridge in Florence, called Ponte Vecchio where there's lots of artists painting gorgeous drawings and goldsmiths selling jewelries to tourists. It's a joy to walk in Florence; everything you see is mind blowing and totally inspiring. Such a lovely place Florence is.
The best way to enjoy florence is by renting a bicycle. Florence is a bicycle friendly city where there's roads especially for bikes so its easy for bikers to move around. We wanted to rent a bike in the first place, but in the end we rented Segway, some kind of technological machine that moves when you lean front and backwards with your body. Sounds dubious, but totally fun!
We had to pay 8 euro's to ride Segway (for half an hour), and I had the oppurtunity to "lean" myself around the city and almost had an accident as there were lots of traffic. It was hard to balance the machine at first. But once you get the hang of it, it feels all natural and funky.
Florence's nightlife is much more relaxed compared to Rome, and much more romantic.
We spent the night in Florence dining in at a Turkish restaurant and I had a full doner meat with rice as dinner. After filling our empty stomachs we watched the Germany vs Holland game at one of the restaurants outside and the atmosphere was very lively. We had to go to our hostel early as it was getting cold and rainy because we didn't bring our jackets along.
After spending a day in Florence, our final destination of our trip to Italy was Milan, the city of fashion. Again, we rode on Eurostar and arrived at Milan after 1 hour and 30 minute journey from Florence.
We didn't have much time in Milan, we only had the morning till evening to enjoy what Milan could offer us so we tried to make the most of it. Milan was scorching hot and the first thing we did was eating a brunch at an Indian restaurant. I love the aluminium cans here..its slim- which looks the same as the milo can in Malaysia.
As a traveller in Milan, I strongly suggest on using the subway as it's the best way to get around in Milan. It's cheap and you could buy a day's ticket for just 5 euro's.
My first impression on Milan was-
"Is this..New York?"
It looks almost the same, with buildings and skyscrapers everywhere, but we were nowhere around a shopping mall- as we were walking around at the Milan Centrale. The shopping paradise in Milan is located in Duomo and that was the place where my camera battery went dead. Had a few shots then boom! It ran out of juice.
There were lots of shops in Duomo, but nothing in particular interests me as i'm not really a fashion person. The only thing that interests me was the gelato icecream- you just can't get enough of it! It's that yummy!
In Milan, there were a lot of street entertainers as well and there's one in particular, a guy acting as a small baby, managed to entertain and made the crowd laughed. It was cute and funny as the baby were making some kind of noise and mimics people that made a nuisance of everyone. Here's a brief video of it which I captured using my ipod..haha.
Our final destination in Milan was the Castello Sforzesco, a castle that used to be the seat and residence of the Duchy of Milan. We soaked up with the sun and enjoyed the rest of our evening resting down the clean grass infront of a big fountain at Castello. Somewhere near Castello, there's a Malaysian restaurant nearby called Mei Lin; we went there and was left shocked by the price- 13.50 euro's for a plate of Nasi Lemak!
Ok, bye2. Haha. Too expensive as I was totally broke at Milan.
We took the subway back to the train station where we bought our bus tickets earlier- and inside the bus it was roaring with Italian cheers, where the Italian were playing against the Netherlands if im not mistaken.
All in all, it was a fun trip to Italy. We had tons of fun and learned a lot during our 4 day's of adventure. Wished that we had more time and budget to spend on Italy, but all good things must come to an end. I would love to come to Italy again this winter or next summer, as there are a few more interesting places that i've yet to visit, especially Pisa and Venice.
Hope you enjoyed my blog post to Italy. How's your summer been treating you so far?
I've just started working and it's all rainy here in Sheffield.
God, I miss Italy.